The ACU Police Department received a call Jan. 18 regarding missing patio furniture from the courtyard of A.B. Barret Hall, with a subsequent investigation revealing a similar theft from Sikes Hall.
The 10:15 a.m. report alerted the officers of the following stolen items: four black, steel tables as well as the 19 steel chairs to match.
ACU Chief of Police Jimmy Ellison said he has never heard of stolen university furniture before.
“With any property crime, we always encourage students, faculty and staff to be alert for suspicious activity and to report it immediately,” Ellison said.
After further investigation by university police, Residence Life staff members from Sikes Hall filed a second report, citing a similar furniture theft of one table and four chairs.
Ellison said that although they cannot pinpoint the exact date of occurrence for either incident, the furniture pieces are suspected to have gone missing over winter break or the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.
Trista Luo, junior financial management major from Guangzhou, China, works late every Saturday night as one of the desk managers for Barret Hall.
“I think there should be another camera,” Luo said. “There’s no monitor in the area of the outdoor furniture, so the desk managers can never be clear on what’s been happening outside.”
ACU Police officers continue to review digital video from the adjacent camera systems of the targeted residence halls. Ellison said he is convinced the nature of the theft would require either a truck or a trailer to remove the significant amount of furniture.
“Right now we don’t have any suspects, but we are checking with the Abilene Police Department to see if they’ve received similar theft reports elsewhere in the city,” Ellison said.
The university features various furniture settings around most dormitories. Ellison said the areas are not only for student enjoyment but open for community use as well, leaving them susceptible to theft.
ACU Police officers are also investigating the crime as a possible attempt to attain scrap metal for resale. They plan to check local scrap yards for any leads, as metal theft is a growing problem in Abilene.
Ellison said he is also considering the missing furniture to be the result of a student prank. He said he would like to stress the seriousness of any theft and he strongly encourages that the pieces be returned.
“The average student doesn’t understand that even dorm mischief has a financial impact,” Ellison said. “Whether or not the act was a prank, the bottom line is that those acts have cost effects on the university.”
Any tips should be referred to ACU Police.